Morphological evolution in the San Francisco Bight

Journal of Coastal Research


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San Francisco Bight, located near the coast of San Francisco, USA, is an extremely dynamic tidal inlet environmental subject to large waves and strong currents. Wave heights coming from the Pacific Ocean commonly exceed 5 m during winter storms. During peak flow tidal currents approach 3 m/s at the Golden Gate, a 1 km wide entrance that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Flow structure in this region varies markedly spatially and temporally due to the complex interaction by wind, waves and tidal currents. A multibeam sonar survey was recently completed that mapped in high resolution, for the first time, the bottom morphology in the region of the ebb tidal delta. This data set includes a giant sand wave field covering an area of approximately 4 square kilometers. The new survey enables the calculation of seabed change that has occurred in the past 50 years, since the last comprehensive survey of the area was completed. This comparison indicates an average erosion of 60 centimeters which equates to a total volume change of approximately 9.3 x 107 m3. Morphologic change also indicates that flood channels have filled and that the entire ebb delta is contracting radially.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Morphological evolution in the San Francisco Bight
Series title Journal of Coastal Research
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher Coastal Education and Research Foundation
Contributing office(s) Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Coastal Research
First page 469
Last page 473
Country United States
State California
City San Francisco
Other Geospatial San Francisco Bight